Maple Tree Species and How They Differ

Maple Tree Species: Similarities and Differences

With over a hundred species from the genus Acer, most maple trees are deciduous woody plants that exist all over the world. Known locally for their warm fall colors and their production of sweet syrup, maple trees are an iconic part of North American landscapes. They can also become a striking addition to your garden, whether as shade, specimen, or accent trees. 

Species of maple trees can easily be recognized by their leaves having five points. While maples may share the most basic physical qualities, they can also differ wildly from one species to the next. Some varieties come in a stunning display of oranges, browns, yellows, and reds every year, while others have leaves that sport multiple colors at once. Here are a few of the most common maples in the US and their traits: 

Red Maple (Acer rubrum) 

The red maple tree gets its name from the color of its twigs and leaf stems as its leaves and fruits turn deep red in the fall. It is a classic shade tree with a rounded or oval crown that starts as green. This medium-sized maple is a common landscape tree in North America and is frequently seen across the Eastern US. 

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) 

The sugar maple species is often considered the most famous maple tree for its sap that’s used to make maple syrup. It is also known for its stunning fall foliage, as its leaves can turn into bright shades of orange, yellow, and red. Additionally, sugar maples are one of the tallest varieties as they can grow up to 120 feet tall and 50 feet wide. 

Paperback Maple (Acer griseum) 

The paperback maple variety gets its name from its rich, coppery-brown bark that peels along its trunk and branches. Its leaves are dark green with undersides that are covered in fuzzy hairs and can turn into a bright scarlet color in the fall. Paperback maples also have a slow growth habit; they can take years to reach their mature height of 25 feet. 

 Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) 

The silver maple species has long, delicate leaves similar to a willow but has the main characteristics of a maple tree. It gets its name from its leaves that have silvery undersides. Throughout the growing season, its foliage is green but can turn into a pale yellow in the fall. Silver maple trees also have an exceptionally fast growth rate as they can thrive in different climates and soil conditions. 

 Talk to Tree Care Professionals 

The most common maple species in the US can contribute to your landscape’s overall appeal with their lively fall display. If you are thinking of planting different species of these deciduous woody plants, it pays to hire a full-service tree care company to help you. Johnson Ops Tree Care in Holmen, WI has ISA Certified Arborists that provide high-quality services to let your landscape thrive. Call us today!